For Ray Hunt and other Oiligarchs, Iraq is "Mission Accomplished"

For Ray Hunt and other Oiligarchs, Iraq is "Mission Accomplished"
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One of the stories that has mostly flown under the radar (and which Bushites would rather sweep under the rug), is the Stephen Payne story. Payne, the Houston lobbyist and Bush/Cheney bag man who was caught on tape offering to arrange a meeting with top Bush officials for a couple of hundred thousand dollars in donations to W's new library (a scene straight out of the sequel to "Thank You for Smoking"), confirmed "long-held suspicions that favors are being offered in return for donations to the libraries which outgoing presidents set up to house their archives and safeguard their political legacies."

The amount Payne told the "former Kyrgystan president" that it would cost him to set up a meeting with top Bush officials was a few hundred thousand. The press should now be asking what $ 35 million buys?

That's how much SMU alum Ray Lee Hunt has pledged. Hunt, for those who don't know, is a former board member of Halliburton (he resigned last year), a Bush/Cheney "Pioneer" and member of Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, with a security clearance and access to classified intelligence. He's also the head of Hunt Oil, the first company to sign an oil exploration agreement last September, a deal he made with Iraq's Kurdistan Regional government.

At the time Hunt bagged the deal, Bush administration officials feigned surprise. But on July 2, Henry Waxman revealed a series of emails and letters that clearly demonstrate the contrary: Not only did administration officials know about Hunt's deal beforehand, but afterwards, they tipped the company off about another deal - an LNG refinery in southern Iraq.

As Waxman understated in a letter to Rice, "this is a serious matter because of the widespread suspicion in Iraq and other nations that the United States went to war to gain access to Iraqi oil."

Last month (6/19) the New York Times reported that Iraq is close to awarding no-bid contracts to Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and BP. It subsequently reported the administration's confession that a "group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields."

Perhaps some day the whole truth will come out and once and for all it will be clear what the motivation for the war was. But don't expect the historical record to be housed in Bush's library at SMU, where history department chair Kathleen Wellman says the project is being coordinated by "an interpretive planner" whose work will have to meet with Bush's approval and "is not likely to involve historians."

I haven't heard how many copies of "The Prize" and "My Pet Goat" the library shelves will contain, but maybe it doesn't matter. Why would you want to look at any books in the library of a president whose administration asserted its right under the PATRIOT Act to check any citizen's library records?

Let Bush build his library. But some citizens of San Francisco have suggested a more fitting way to commemorate the cesspool of corruption that he and Cheney have created: they are proposing that the local sewage treatment plant be renamed after Bush. The decision to do so will be on the city's ballot in November.

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